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Universalis

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Deconstructing Marriage

The philosophical error behind allowing marriage to include two people of the same gender is the idea that gender is merely a "social construct".

In other words, it is a rule made by society, and a lot of those rules stop our freedom, so need to be destroyed.

This goes back to Rousseau, who along with other enlightenment intellectuals, decided that if we got rid of rules, we could be free like the mythical "Noble savage"of ancient times, who they saw as a man free and happy.

Mary Anne Glendon once pointed out the logical problem with that idea: That these philosophers didn't bother to ask what the women or children were doing at the time.

For the dirty little secret is that ancient man, whether he be a "hunter gatherer" or a farmer, usually lived in a communal society. The free and primitive man could only do these hard and dangerous jobs because he had a wife at home to cook the food, grow or gather plant food, and care for his children (who would care for him in his old age or if the sabre tooth tiger bit him in the leg and left him crippled).

So we have two errors: one, that being an isolated individual makes one happy (not true) and more free (only true if one is young and healthy).

But the second error is biological.

No matter how much academia insists men and women are interchangable, it's not true.

Men don't have babies.

So the only way for a woman to be "free" as the Noble savage described above would be if she didn't have any children, and indeed remained single.

Yes, women have careers, but the dirty little secret is that they have to compromise to do so. Either the children suffer or the career suffers. Which is why so many in academia or research are single women (often lesbians), have only one or two children, or have a househusband, a full time nanny, a live in grandmother, or another childcare worker to do the hard and dirty work of caring for the home.

In the US, marriage has been under fire for years.

It started with "no fault" divorce, where the wife could not keep her husband against his objections, and often was denied alimony.

It then went to living together without marriage. You often heard "we don't need a piece of paper to stay together", but after twenty years of this, we see the result: almost half of children born out of wedlock, and many early marriages ending in divorce the first time things get rough.

I am leaving religion out of this: we are talking about biology. Biology says women are different, and because of that difference, every society has customs to protect her when she gets pregnant and protect her children while they are small and weak.

But for too many years the idea of interchangable gender remains, and so we see that homosexual sex is equated to heterosexual marriage, even though only techology or adoption allows them to have children, and even though sexual fidelity is not part of the "marriage" agreement for male homosexuals.

Andrew Sullivan once defended gay marriage by saying it would open heterosexual marriage to be more "open" (i.e. tolorate flings).

What's wrong with this picture?

No one is looking what the woman wants.

Women throughout history have had to compromise to live.

In poor countries, and in the past, this often meant marrying the (rich) old guy your father wants you to marry. Or it might mean staying with a husband who brings home a new young girl to marry, and you now have the "choice" to leave and starve to death, to go back to your family (who often doesn't want you), wait for your oldest son to get a good job so you can leave, or to grit your teeth and put up with the fact your husband no longer loves you and the reason why is in the next bedroom.

That is why Mohammed insisted that the husband treat all his wives equally, and wrote limitations on the local customs of wifebeating, female circumcision, honor killing, and female infanticide. A lot of folks criticize Islam, without realizing he was trying to make thing better for women of his day.

So there is a paradox in all of this: women can only be truly "free" if they have a husband or family to care for them.

But since we are destroying the family bit by bit, this means replacing it with a welfare state.
That paradox is seen in liberal Catholicism, who substitutes "Catholic social teaching" to replace the Church's strict sexual ethic. Their emphasis on one in place of the second ignores that they are causing more social problems than solving them.

So what brought on this tirade?

Well, some Canadian writer has a book about the Native Americans. It's a rewrite of the "Noble savage" myth, and showed that the Native Americans were happy with all sorts of sexual combinations, including "gay marriage" and polygamy, and only the bad Europeans

"..."Politicians, social reformers and judges widely agreed that marriage was a sacred institution that supported the whole social fabric and was essential to peace, order and good government in Canada."

The problem was, however, that prairie First Nations people had lived with diverse forms of marriage-including monogamy, polygamy and same-sex marriage-for centuries, to happy and harmonious effect. Divorce was easily obtained, remarriage was common and accepted, and, as Carter discovered, almost everyone had a spouse except those who didn't want to be married. In fur-trader society, many M├ętis marriages also followed this more flexible pattern. "

Let's deconstruct this passage.

I've worked with the prairie tribes. They didn't live happy and harmoneously. They were too busy fighting each other, killing each other, and stealing each other's women.

The reason that "everyone had a spouse" was that if you didn't have a spouse, who would prepare your food?

Of course, if you wanted sex, you could grab one of those women slaves any time you wanted.

The women in the Sioux and Objibwe tribes were taught to be obedient and passive. (after menopause, this changed, but that's another story). Yes, you could easily divorce her, but how could she eat if she divorced you?

As for those "easy going Metis". Did it ever occur to the author that the woman was given to the French traders? She didn't have much say in the matter.

Sacajawea got into history as the third wife of the Frenchman who guided Lewis and Clark. She was bought by him. She was a Shoshone, captured from her family by a war party, and although a teenager when she "married", does anyone think that she preferred marriage to an abusive dirty (i.e. few baths) alcoholic Frenchman than to have to give sexual favors to any male in the village who grabbed her?

History doesn't tell the whole story.

But feminists who are so busy destroying marriage need to realize that the replacement might very well be single motherhood, abortion, or back to the good old days when you grit your teeth and put up with the low status of being a second or third wife because the alternative is not being a mother at all...

1 Comments:

  • Excellent deconstruct from a philosophical and historical standpoint.

    From the medical standpoint John R. Diggs M.D. concludes in a recent study that "approving same-sex realtionships is detrimental to employers, employees and society in general", due to "serious medical consequences".

    And from the moral standpoint, Bishop Tobin enumerates 3 principal reasons.

    Any which way we look at it...

    By Blogger WillyJ, at 5:51 PM  

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